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Human Experience


Popular wisdom has long said, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” I’ve heard that saying countless times, and I’m sure you have too. It’s stupid and I’m going to tell you why.

A 2008 Arbitron study on product sampling methods, marketing and brand loyalty discovered some AMAZINGLY SHOCKING things.

People Like Free Stuff – According to Arbitron’s research “about two of every three consumers accept product samples.”

People Buy Things They Like – “More than one-third of consumers who try a sample buy the sampled product during the same shopping trip.”

As marketers, we shouldn’t be worried about giving away free milk, we should be giving away as much free milk as we can afford. Once they’ve sampled the milk, you say, “Now, wouldn’t you like to have milk like this every morning for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Buy the cow.”

Have I convinced you to sample yet? No? Allow me to continue. 

  • 25% of consumers who’ve never heard of a product buy it after sampling
  • 60% of consumers who have heard of a product (but never bought it) plan to buy it in the future after sampling it

Sampling just works, so how do you do it right? Here are a few pointers from Ryan Orrick, our resident expert in product sampling:

1. Spread the word via social. Be easy to find. Remember, people like free stuff, so use your social channels to spread the word.

2. Be where the people are. You’re trying to give things away to potential consumers, so be where you think they’ll be. If they aren’t there, hold on to your samples and be mobile enough to find them.

3. Timing is everything. Nobody wants to sample a breakfast bar at night. So let potential consumers sample the product at best time to consume it.

4. Keep it short and sweet. You can’t talk them into liking their sample. Cover a few important points and then let your product do the talking. However, if they want to know more, you better be able to fill them in.

5. Use qualified people. Product sampling isn’t a race to see who can give their samples away fastest. Choose professionals that will get your product in the right hands.

6. Have more samples. Don’t run out until you’ve made sure to sample every potential consumer.

Ready to buy a cow yet?